2020 In Review

Wendy McWilliam, 9th December 2020

If there’s one thing we can all agree on as we come to the end of 2020, it’s certainly that this has been a year like no other. Looking back, the CBAA is pleased to share 12 outstanding accomplishments of 2020 that speak to the strength, kindness and ingenuity of our sector.

Outstanding community radio coverage of the Australian Bushfires 2019-2020
In January and throughout the devastating bushfires of 2019/2020, community radio stations across Australia made incredible efforts to provide their communities with regular updates and emergency information, as well as fundraising for the RFS and other essential organisations fighting the blazes across the country. Read more
 First Sounds – Volume One launches
In February, the premier release of First Sounds – a compilation CD showcasing new and emerging First Nations artists — was distributed to community radio stations around Australia. The CBAA is thrilled to have partnered with First Nations Media Australia to produce four First Sounds volumes this year. Listen now.
Community radio pivots to remote broadcasting
As Australia locked down in March, broadcasters went above and beyond, quickly upskilling and learning how to broadcast remotely to continue to support their communities. Here is one of our favourite recaps.
From the Embers podcast is released
The nine-part From the Embers podcast, sharing community stories from those affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires, was released in April.  Each episode in this incredible series was produced in partnership with a community radio station in a bushfire affected area, and is an important reminder to us all of the essential role that storytelling plays in ensuring we allow those affected to be honoured and heal, without feeling overlooked. Listen now
The CBAA was pleased to produce From the Embers in partnership with the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas and the Paul Ramsay Foundation
New Amrap website increases access for Australian artists and community broadcasters
A revamped and improved Amrap website launched in May, allowing broadcasters and artists alike to browse the charts, upload their music and stay up to date with all that is happening in Australian music in one user-friendly place. Check it out
Consumer Coach podcast paves path for pandemic financial relief
June saw the launch of the Consumer Coach: Your Pandemic Financial Survival Guide. The CBAA partnered with the Ecstra Foundation to equip Australians with the support, advice, and access to resources to make financial decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each episode of this 10-part series focused on a different area of financial interest, giving listeners insights from financial experts, personal stories from those hardest hit and representatives from special agencies. Listen now
National Agreement on Closing the Gap
Leading Australia in a new direction to significantly improve life outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations and the Australian Governments signed a landmark National Agreement on Closing the Gap on Thursday, 30 July.
The new National Agreement is a pledge from all governments to fundamentally change the way they work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations,and after much work by First Nations Media Australia, includes and recognises First Nations media. Read the National Agreement
CBAA gives evidence on the value of community radio to government inquiry
In August, the CBAA and station representative Gordon Waters from Braidwood FM presented on the role of community radio during natural disasters to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee's inquiry "lessons to be learned in relation to the Australian bushfire season 2019-2020" 
Following further government engagement, both the report from this inquiry and the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recognised the vital work community radio undertakes as a “trusted broadcaster of emergency messages and warnings.” Read the full report
CBAA Supports Community Radio’s Transition to Multiplatform Delivery
Announced in September with funding from the Community Broadcasting Foundation, the CBAA’s Community Media Multiplatform Distribution Project is supporting community radio stations to provide audiences with seamless, personalised digital experiences that allow them to enjoy and engage with content regardless of their geographic location. 
A virtual-first CBAA Conference
Providing greater access to the sector than ever before, the 2020 CBAA Conference was conducted in a virtual format for the first time in October. More than 1,000 members of the community radio sector registered for the event, which included 24 sessions and talks from over 55 presenters across four days. Watch the sessions replays.
Cheering along online at the 2020 CBAA Community Radio Awards
Following more than 300 entries across 27 categories, the winners of the CBAA Community Radio Awards were revealed on Facebook across three weeks in November. It was heartening to see the community radio sector come together online to show support for their peers by liking, commenting, and sharing the posts! View the full list of winners.

[Pictured: Outstanding Volunteer Contribution 2020 winners: Warren Barentt, Highland FM and Judy Clare, VoxFM]

 The CBAA receives COVID-19 Hero Association Award
In December, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia was named the winner of the inaugural COVID-19 Hero Association Award as part of the 2020 APAC Association Awards.
The CBAA was recognised for quickly reacting to the global pandemic through raising public, community and social awareness of community broadcasting and proactively working with influential stakeholders to strengthen knowledge, understanding and support. 
The CBAA team was thrilled to accept this award and look forward to continuing to support the sector in 2021 and beyond. Read more

More great news from the CBAA:
  • The CBAA launched a brand-new Australian music radio show across the Community Radio NetworkAustralian Music is Bloody Great, showcasing an incredible range of Australian artists whose livelihoods have been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the cancellation of concerts, festivals, tours and shows. Read more
  • The CBAA was thrilled to launch our new e-learning platform CBAA Learning in December. Supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, CBAA Learning provides a space to share resources to upskill sector members, including station managers, individual volunteers and broadcasters. Learn now
  • Digital radio expanded to Canberra, Darwin and Hobart with community DAB+ radio services commencing on-air implementation.
  • The philanthropic partnerhsip with Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas, made the National Radio News service available to community stations free for six months. The audience growth for community-driven news reached 40% – from 1.39 to 1.9 million potential listeners every week. Read more
  • You can also find more details of our activities this year in the CBAA Annual Review  2019/2020


In 2021, we look forward to furthering the legacy of our achievements and exploring new avenues to continue, to increase the capacity and capability of the community radio sector.
Wishing everyone a happy and safe festive season.

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The CBAA is pleased to share its 2019/2020 annual review, detailing the proactive and responsive initiatives undertaken to champion and support the community radio sector in a year like no other.


The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) announced a second season of the From The Embers (From the Embers 2: Phoenix) short radio series and podcast will soon be released. 


The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia was named the winner of the inaugral COVID-19 Hero Association Award. This award recognises associations that exemplified the highest standards of excellence and achievement that have significantly changed the association industry particulalry during a global pandemic.